FIGHTING CENSORSHIP

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Bottomline: The two do not go hand in hand because whereas Media tells the truth, censorship actually conceals it.

Censorship could be viewed as the act of suppressing speech, public communication or other forms of information source on the grounds that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive or inconvenient. Censorship could possibly be orchestrated by government. Likewise, a private institution could also conduct censorship – corporate censorship.

Other than the aforementioned requirements to have materials censored; it could also be that the material is politically unacceptable or threatens national security.

In the United States of America and presumably the world over, a number of several books, songs and movies have had harsh verdict meted out to the materials and their authors, thanks to censorship. So, does censorship devoid human beings of their freedom of expression and that of association? Aren’t we free as human beings to access every written, recorded, filmed and documented piece with a view to decipher meaning and  analyse the world on basis of such pieces?

It comes out rather apparent that censorship and Journalism are very much parallel and queerly antagonistic. The two do not go hand in hand because whereas Media tells the truth, censorship actually conceals it.

In the scribbling industry, books of different genres have been banned or removed from mainstream consumer circles. Suffice to say books like: The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade; American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis; Aeropagitica (1644) by John Milton; Another Country (1962) by James Baldwin; The Anarchist Crook book by William Powell (1971); and The Boys ( 2012) by Garth Ennis (comic series) are no longer on the shelves neither in circulation within U.S.A nor other parts of the globe.

The music industry has equally had its own share of wrath when it comes to censorship policies. Music from popular artistes have been banned not one. For instance:Imagine ( October 11, 1971 ) by John Lennon; Greased Lightning ( 1978) by John Travolta; The Real Slim Shady ( May 16, 2000 ) by Eminem; If You Seek Amy ( March 10, 2009 ) by Britney Spears; Love Game (March, 23, 2009) by Lady Gaga and Red Nation ( 2011) by The Game.

The film industry has not been spared as censorship has seen quite a number of movies pulled down from the mainstream viewers access. In America alone, the following movies have been banned in the recent past including: Birth Control ( 1917 ); Hillary:The Movie ( 1922); Scar face (1932); Ecstasy (1933); The Vanishing Prairie ( 1954); The Thorn (1974 );The Last Temptation of Christ ( 1988 ); The Profit ( 2001); The Yes Men Fix the World ( 2009) among others.

Its now apparent how sensitive and pertinent the issue of censorship is. So, how do we fight censorship, how do we reduce its effects limiting persons’ to accessing information at the same time  protecting the  younger generation from the harmful pangs of mind – eroding content and gory-kind of Journalism including published materials with extremism, Sexual perversion and national security threats?

Reclining laws on matters access to information. It comes out pertinently that articles 31 – 34 in the Kenyan Constitution 2010, stipulate circumstances under which journalists are allowed legal access to information, how they exhibit professionalism bound by a kernel of fact-bound ethical apparatus.

These laws are loose, according to my opinion. To this end, it is better for the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) alongside other Media agencies to staunchly vouch for reclining of the laws – with view of tightening the atmosphere and allowing scribes and media personalities to accurately, genuinely and in present time present information as soon as events unfold. Such will leave no room for banning nor censoring of medial – researched content and other publications at best.

Having a sophisticated mainstream media is also as vital in the wake of this fight against censor policies. Somehow, we ought to inaugurate some pavement to pinnacle our Kenyan media so that we compete with the very best the world can offer. This will make sure that questionable online media brands and shoddy radio stations pushed by desirous whims for money,crooked individuals who sign off as bloggers – who constantly gift the internet with all sorts of lies, bombarding their subjects with huge words to hide ignorance. Huge words for nothing huh! Then we have the radical columnists who are only inclined towards extremism ends only, and mediocre news selling companies adhering not to media rules as per the MCK acts and rules of conduct are all shed off the industry with aplomb. We need a Kenyan media that exposes societal decay and rot, deterioration of humanitarian values, religious values, communist values and a social – life apparatus that functions as a  watchdog not only the government but all systems in the state’s geographical matrix. We need a ”True” media; an honest one in precision, an agile and alert one which is also unquestionably transparent and one that bouyancy in unfathomable novelty.

If we are to successfully fight censorship, we first need to enact strict film laws and policies. Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, in his capacity as C.E.O Kenya Films Classification Board (KFCB) should chart a way of imposing stringent acts and policies to aid curb video, filmed material whose sole intention is to exacerbate societal decay and to increase levels of its fragrance if not odour.

There is reason and logic for Kenya to ratify execution and implementation of the watershed period. 10 AM – 10 PM. It ain’t an issue of literacy or illiteracy, we all have some basic knowledge of numbers. We all love money, right? Children in their tender age have the right to get protected against gory, disturbing, mentally challenging material. This is to say that explicit material should not be aired within the aforementioned time longevity. Not even in form of music videos. It is a shame to say that we have a watershed period in Kenya albeit some media stations broadcast music videos every evening with nasty censored scenes. We all love and care for our young ones. We wouldn’t even have that time to stop and mention censorship were we to lay the rules fine and set the limits crystal clear.

Investing more on investigative journalism in Kenya also quite comes in handy. The benefits of this are apparent, ubiquitous to the society’s need for such and also in counteracting censorship. Only investigative journalism will expose the truth like those done by our very own Mohammed Ali and Dennis Onsarigo. We need to seek to know the truth for the truth will never walk toward us. We rather need to walk toward it. If with simple regulation both by media council and Kenyan government, the East African highly rated, potential state is not capable to fight censorship, tell me how else? If our journalism was solutions-focused, we would not be talking of banning music, videos and books.

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